A World Without Chemical Weapons

I applaud President Barack Obama's use of forceful diplomacy with Assad. I applaud the President for turning to Congress and the American people before deploying military force. Everyone American, and all 190 Nations who put their reputations on the line by signing the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) need to put their full support behind this diplomatic effort.

A diplomatic solution holds the possibility of eliminating 100 percent of Assad's chemical weapons while a military strike draws us into another conflict in the region with the possibility of eliminating 80 percent of the deadly chemical weapons -- at best.

It is essential to understand that this diplomatic solution was made possible because of the leadership displayed by President Obama. Ultimately, it was the credible threat of force that brought all the parties to the table for the current negotiations. More importantly, it was the patience on the part of the President, by turning to Congress and the American people first, that allowed the diplomatic channels to open. This is "American Exceptionalism" at its best.

It is time to seize the moment. As the debate rages over Assad's use of chemical weapons it is time to re-focus on our clear and unwavering goal -- the elimination of chemical weapons and their use from the world.

The world has placed chemical, biological and nuclear weapons in a separate category because their use constitutes a crime against all humanity. It is not only the vulgar and horrific way in which these weapons kill, it is also the fact that these weapons kill for generations -- increasing still births and birth defects, causing sterility and laying thousands of acres of our planet to waste for generations to come. We must eliminate these weapons.

A military strike would not destroy these weapons or guarantee they do not fall into the hands of terrorists. Even if America were to strike unilaterally and eliminate 80 percent of the estimated Syrian chemical stockpile of 1000 metric tons -- that would leave Assad, or whatever faction "wins" the Syrian Civil War, with 200 metric tons of chemical weapons. That is enough chemical weapons to kill over 6,000,000 men, women and children with attacks similar to the August 22 attack.

A diplomatic solution will drive us towards our goal of eliminating 100 percent of these weapons and verifying these weapons have been destroyed. We are capable of getting this done. The world has been successful with this diplomatic approach.

Under Saddam Hussein the nation of Iraq possessed and used chemical weapons against both their own Kurdish population and Iranian military forces. After the First Gulf War the international community, working through the United Nations, sent weapons inspectors to Iraq led by Hans Blix and implemented a prohibition on supplying or selling WMDs to Iraq. After Gulf War Two, Allied Forces never found any stockpiled weapons of mass destruction in Iraq -- in spite of the fact the Saddam Hussein actively sought these weapons.

As a Korean War Veteran I know too well the troubling nature of war. This is why I will always support a diplomatic answer before military intervention. The recent events in Syria are no exception.

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